MWSA Interview with Joyce Faulkner

Date of Interview:  4 August 2017

Joyce Faulkner is an author, publisher, graphic artist, and a retired chemical engineer. She is a past President of Military Writers Society of America and past Board member. She is also the past chairman of the Programming committee and with Betsy Beard cochaired the awards committee in 2016. Together with Pat McGrath Avery, she designs, writes feature articles for and produces the quarterly MWSA magazine, Dispatches. Through Red Engine Press, she also designs and produces the MWSA annual anthologies.

Joyce writes in several genres including historical fiction, mystery/thriller, Humor, and history. She has received awards from multiple organizations including MWSA. Her historical novels include "In the Shadow of Suribach,"(MWSA Gold, 2005, Bronze, Branson Stars and Flags, 2014), "Windshift," (Silver, Global ebook Award for Historical Fiction, 2014, Silver, Branson Stars and Flags, 2015, First Place for Historical Fiction, The Author Zone, 2015), and recently released "Vala's Bed." Her mystery/thriller is "Username," which received a Silver Medal for the audio version performed by MWSA member Michael D. Mullins.

She has several collections of short fiction including "Losing Patience," "Chance and other horrors," and "For Shrieking Out Loud," from her humor column on the, The Weekly Shriek.

Joyce's other works with writing partner Pat McGrath Avery include "Sunchon Tunnel Massacre Survivors," which received a Bronze for History from MWSA in 2008 and a Gold from Branson Stars and Flags, 2009. She has also designed and produced several children's books with Pat that include "Fun Days in South Padre Island, "Fun Days in Pittsburgh," (Third Place, The Author Zone, 2015), and "Fun Days in Kansas City." A children's adaptation of her novel, "Windshift," "Someday I'll Fly" by Rebecca Evans received First Place from The Author's Zone.

MWSA: How long have you been associated with MWSA?

Joyce Faulkner: 2005

MWSA: Tell us about your latest book.

Joyce Faulkner: Vala's Bed is historical fiction about the impact of the holicaust on a German war bride and her children. It was the result of a trip to Auschwitz in 2002. Shocked by own reaction to the events that took place there, I started a seventeen year journey to explore the various sides from the point of view of a child named Emo Johann Hess, who becomes EJ Logan and must come to terms that although he is now American and sees the world through mid-20th century American values, he is the product of Nazi Germany and the values it embraced. 

MWSA: What is your next project?

Joyce Faulkner: I am working on another historical fiction piece, this time set in my own hometown, Fort Smith, Arkansas, in the 1910s, called "Garrison Avenue." Fort Smith has a rich literary background as a frontier town with a "cowboys and indians" culture mixed with tales of the "hanging judge" Isaac Parker. However, "Garrison Avenue" focuses on a different era...when the townsfolk are transiting to a culture of business and theater and law and order. Now they worry about getting grants for their library and design proposals for paved roads and bridges and encouraging investments in electic parks and fancy hotels. And then, what might have been acceptable ten or twenty years before, a lynching, forces the town to look at itself in an entirely new way.

MWSA: What do you enjoy most about MWSA?

Joyce Faulkner: I love the stories. Regardless of genre, MWSA encourages authors to focus on veterans' stories and tales associated with our own a country, and in our relationships with friends and enemies around the world. It also supports writing technique and growth over time. And most of all, the organization provides authors with activities that encourages growth...wherever members are in their writing careers. 

MWSA: What do you hope comes next for MWSA?

Joyce Faulkner: I am hoping we will be able to provide opportunities for our members ...things like learning how to use podcasting to further our storytelling. I love when our events provide us with a better understanding of history or when it gives us a deeper a deeper look into techniques like blogging or short video. 

MWSA: What do you recommend for MWSA writers interested in writing historical fiction and history?

Joyce Faulkner: Travel. One to one interviews. Spending time in newspaper archives. Working with libraries and museums. Creating detailed timelines that combine history and your plotlines.